UCI joins global coalition calling on governments to boost cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is proud to join the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and a global coalition of pro-cycling organisations with the publication of an open letter to governments attending the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland (Great Britain).

The letter calls on the governments to commit to significantly increasing the number of people who cycle in their countries in order to reach global climate goals quickly and effectively.

The world needs much more cycling if it is to combat climate change. Without quicker and more determined action by governments worldwide to cut transport carbon emissions, future generations will be faced with a world that is more hostile and much less inhabitable.

CO₂ emissions from the transport sector continue to increase. Meanwhile, the transition to zero-emission cars and trucks will take decades to complete and will not solve other problems like traffic congestion and sedentary lifestyles. Despite this, COP26 Transport Day on 10 November is set to focus exclusively on the electrification of road vehicles as a solution to the climate crisis we are facing today.

The UCI, ECF and all in the coalition believe cycling represents one of humanity’s greatest hopes for a shift towards a zero-carbon future. Bicycle use produces zero emissions, delivers far-reaching positive societal impacts and – most importantly – is a technology that is already widely available today. The world cannot afford to wait decades for fossil-fuel cars to be fully phased out and replaced by electric vehicles. It is necessary to urgently leverage the solutions that the bicycle offers by radically scaling up its use.

The signatories* to the open letter call on governments and leaders attending COP26 to declare commitments to significantly boost cycling levels at home and collectively commit to achieving a global target of higher cycling levels. The letter was sent to governments and transport ministers ahead of COP26.

David Lappartient, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale: “Cycling provides key solutions to global challenges such as climate change, public health, traffic congestion and air pollution. The global risk of events like extreme droughts, wildfires, and flooding will increase exponentially if the planet’s temperature rises by 1.5°C or more by 2030. One way to save our world will be for more of us to cycle more frequently.”

Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation: “There is no conceivable way for governments to reduce CO₂ emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis without significantly more cycling. The devastating effects of accelerating global warming should be clear to everyone, and boosting cycling levels is the best way to quickly cut carbon emissions from transport on a massive scale.”

Henk Swarttouw, President of European Cyclists’ Federation and of the World Cycling Alliance: “Cycling should be a cornerstone of global, national and local strategies to meet net-zero carbon targets. At COP26, governments must commit to providing the financing and legislation for safe and equitable space for cycling everywhere. Citizens are ready for the change; now our leaders need to enable it.”

Read the open letter to governments at COP26 here: www.cop26cycling.com

* As of 9 November, more than 190 civil society organisations had added their signature to the letter, reaching more than 250 signatories from all over the world.